A couple have raised more than £1,600 for Love Your Hospital, the trust’s dedicated charity, to thank staff on the neonatal unit at St Richard’s Hospital for the care provided to their premature twins.

Initially planned to be born at St Richards, Poppy and Jessica Jennions arrived 10 weeks and 1 day early on 25th August 2018, prompting a change of venue to the Queen Alexander Hospital in Portsmouth.

At ten days old, the twins were strong enough to be transferred for specialist care at St Richard’s Hospital for a further 40 days, where they were treated for chronic lung disease and anaemia before finally going home. They then spent a further seven weeks on oxygen under the care of a St Richard’s outreach nurse.

Parents Lauren and Philip from Havant wanted to find a special way to support both neonatal units involved in the twins’ care and arranged an 18 mile charity walk on 20th April, starting at the Queen Alexander and ending at St Richard’s Hospital.

Philip said: “We decided to raise money for both neonatal units that cared for Poppy and Jessica helping them to come home. As the girls started at QA and then went on to St Richards, we thought we would follow in their journey on foot.”

The couple were joined by 18 friends and family on what was then the hottest day of the year. Lauren’s social media posts promoting the walk attracted members of the local community, who had also experienced care on both neonatal units, to join the walk too.

The Brookfield Hotel in Emsworth kindly provided complimentary refreshments and bacon sandwiches for the group part way through their walk.

Lauren said: “With the amazing help from all the NICU nurses, we learnt how to tube feed the girls, bathe them, and eventually move on to bottle feeds. All of the nurses were so friendly and not only cared for our babies, but for us too. It made our time on the unit at St Richard’s Hospital a bit less stressful.”

On Friday 26th July, Lauren, Phil, Poppy and Jessica came back to visit the neonatal team and present a cheque for £1650. A total of £1650 was also donated to the neonatal unit at the Queen Alexander.

Katherine De Guzman, a neonatal staff nurse who cared for the twins said: “We don’t often get to see how our babies are developing after they leave the unit, so it was overwhelming to see the girls again! They were really tiny when they arrived at St Richard’s and went through a lot so it was rewarding for the team to see them looking so healthy. Donations like this allow us to improve patient care so we’re really grateful to Lauren, Phil and everyone who took part in the walk to support us.”